These rumors are getting ridiculous, yet somehow strangely alluring if the following turns out to be true. Today’s latest tidbit of casting speculation in regards to the higher than highly anticipated Star Wars Episode VII is that director J.J. Abrams is looking to transfer Benedict Cumberbatch from Star Trek villainy to a new role in that galaxy far, far away.
The fine folk at The Film Chronicles were the first ones to report the rumor. although they didn’t specify a role. Of course, this could be a bunch of nerd-obsessive bull mash, but as /Film points out, Cumberbatch recently checked out of Guillermo del Toro’s next film Crimson Peak. Was that to make it possible for the actor to free up his schedule for some Star Wars-y action? It is possible. Back in May, while promoting Star Trek Into Darkness, Cumberbatch talked about his love for all things Star Wars with Total Film. To revisit his comments, Cumberbatch said:
I’ve already asked [J.J. Abrams] if I can be a lightsaber and we’re in talks – about whirring sounds and the rates for the lights and everything [laughs].
I thought, ‘Yeah, I grew up with them,’ and I just looked recently at when they were released and now I’m like, ‘No, I didn’t grow up with them, I was born with them.’ They were a huge part of my background, and my upbringing.
I was much more connected to [Star Wars] as a kid, in the way that a lot of kids are because it’s immediate storytelling, very simple – a beautifully, outrageously simple narrative in a way – and a wonderful three-act melodrama, opera. And I loved them. I really, really loved those films and I always wanted to be Han Solo. Everything Harrison Ford did I just thought was the coolest thing ever – Raiders Of The Lost Ark was very much my upbringing as well.
What I realized with the reboot of Star Trek in 2009 is that I had a residual love and empathy for these characters because I felt really, giddily sentimental about them getting back together, and this origin story. So Star Trek seeds a little deeper for most people, it’s a little bit more mature – it doesn’t take itself too seriously though, it’s very humorous and fast-paced and imaginative and fun.
But I think the serious things that really kind of get you… that comes from good characters, really well drawn characters that have fantastically rich relationships and really interesting meat in the stories.
They may be set in space but they dealt with every kind of discussion or morality play, or debate about race or purpose and place and identity, and what it is to belong, and the human condition, and that’s its enduring appeal. I’m backtracking a bit but what I’m saying is my fervor for Trek was there, I just didn’t realize it. I was an out-and-out kid running around with a lightsaber wanting to fly the Millennium Falcon but I think I’m growing into being a Trekkie, if that makes sense.
So how possible is it? Well, Abrams is one of those directors that likes to work with the same actors again and again, just ask Simon Pegg or Greg Grunberg. Adding Cumberbatch to the Star Wars universe is a good call, I could see him easily as a Sith, or a Jedi Master, or maybe even as some member of the new galactic order, an ex-Imperial or member of the new Republican government… Let further idle speculation commence below.